Four new black belts were earned at the Seido Karate grading evening held in Nelson last week.
Senpais Richard Butler, Zeus Goyone, Daniel Kirby and Jose Perez all gained their Shodan, beginner level black belt.
It generally takes around five to eight years, starting from beginner level, to work towards a Seido Karate black belt. Students train two to three times a week.
To earn the black belt, students must memorise 15 Kata’s, which are ancient forms passed down from previous masters, making up their own self-defence techniques and partaking in 40 one and a half minute fights against 40 different black belts. Andy says all four students passed and did very well.
“Sparing is not to eliminate the opponent, it is to test their attitude. There are restrictions on the opponents and both fighters must wear safety gear such as foam-covered boots to ensure no-one gets hurt,” says Andy.
There are around 80 black belts living in Nelson and 67 of them, along with senior karate students, watched and supported the four men involved in grading. “It was very inspiring for all and it was a celebration of our practice, karate helps people’s lives, it is about turning them into better people within our community,” says Andy.